pyoor_excuse: (house)
...and the debacle with the first contractor, a second contractor came out and gave us almost the same quote plus a ballpark figure for the shell of the addition we want built.

Both of which came in affordable.

Which means that yesterday we said "yeah, we'll offer 2.5k less than we said originally, and we'll fix it". Yes. We said "we'll buy that" to a house which currently has at least one support beam you can apparently crush with your hand.

So that's exciting.

Now in 3D!

Jul. 18th, 2017 03:00 pm
pyoor_excuse: (Default)
So, I finally got to do some playing with the 3D printer I bought last year. It's a Monoprice Select Mini 3D - a printer with a reputation for being incredibly cheap. Which it was; which is why I have it.

Anyhow, I had a plan to make a replacement quick release plate for the tripod I bought from goodwill. It's a cheap not-quite-fluid-but-mimics-fluid-motion tripod. Which is fine, I just needed something fairly solid to stick the camera on. However, it - like seemingly nearly all the tripods at our local goodwill - was missing its quick release head. So I thought I'd give a bit of design and print a go.

What I ended up with is this. Which was an interesting learning experience. I kept having the sloped section at the end printing separately, which is how it ended up with this version where it overlaps a bit. I've now got a bit better, I think, at making stuff join together, so I'd fix that if I ever reprint it. If I was to reprint it, I'd make it about 1mm wider too, and possibly reinstate the sloped section that I did have at the opposite end from the current slope (which I chopped off for simplicity, but which would improve fit a little). I'd also make the recess for the bolt that acts as a camera screw a bit deeper.

Anyhow. Having eventually achieved success (I both got it to print AND it actually fits!), I then stepped up my game to produce a doohick to hold my tablet underneath the camera so it can act as a teleprompter. Now really, if I end up doing more videos then I should probably step it up to a proper teleprompter. But, for the moment I have this:

IMG_20170718_115450

IMG_20170718_115500

Irritatingly, my local hardware shop doesn't have any long enough screws in either metric or imperial; and for once my dad's box of a billion screws failed me (although I think in the sub-box of a thousand screws which is somewhere in one of the many boxes around the place, there probably is the screw I'm after). There are several refinements I should make to this, too. But I'm not really likely to.

But it's here:



It should work okay, so long as I'm some distance from the camera. That way you can't so obviously see I'm looking just below it.

Anyhow. I'm very much enjoying the 3D printing. Although I am the least efficient designer in the history of time. It took 2 printed iterations of the tablet holder for me to realise that the design is lacking a few things. Really it would also benefit from a spring to pull the two clamps together. And the version of the design I first printed was over complicated and one-clamp based, for reasons that currently escape me. The new version just has two copies of the same clamp. Much easier. Thankfully the one-clamp bit will work with the two-clamp design. So I didn't have to reprint it.

Funnily enough, after months of failure, it seems dumping the printer in the corner of the cupboard where I can't tweak the adjustment easily has proven to be the key. It seems to happily print away (although adhesion remains a problem. Justin suggested a different hairspray-as-adhesive a while back, so I shall give that a go at some point).

Anyway, yay. Yay for making things. Sorta.

Now I just need to find the wood for my chair project.
pyoor_excuse: (house)
So, I don't know what it is. Something about our luck. And I'm trying not to ascribe it to the whole of the US, because I know that's unfair, but the crappyness of the buildings we've seen, and the utterly appaulling quality of renovations we're seeing does make me wonder if this is a cultural thing. That just throwing up a building, then doing shoddy work on it for a while, until it falls down, that might be a thing? I don't know.

And maybe it's just that the all but one of the very oldest houses we've looked at here to buy are the same age as the newest houses I've worked on or looked at in the UK? I know new houses are f'kin shonky in the UK, so maybe it's just that we're looking at the equivalent of UK modern houses here? Whatever it is, it's beginning to make me feel very fed up.

Maybe it's just that we naturally attract shonky-ass crap houses.

So, the house inspection showed up that there had been water in the crawl space (void) under the house. He suggested that the slope of the ground around the house, and a failure to have a gap between the foundation and the grass was at fault. That run-off was pooling in the space. That had then encouraged wood-boring-animals into the wood, so some of the support pillars for the building would need replacing. He recommended getting a wood-boring knowledgable person in to identify what needed doing.

The pest guy identify a couple of pillars that he knew would need replacing, and the beetle treatment would not be terribly expensive. But he said we needed to sort out the water ingress problem. And he recommended getting a contractor in to check the pillars to identify which ones needed replacing.

Today we had possibly the worst matched contractor we've ever had quote on work come and quote for repair work because. He was also meant to be discussing ballpark figures for the addition (extension) that we want to do; but... that didn't happen.

Anyhow, he says that the is of the opinion that there's around 1' of water sitting in the crawlspace through the winter, because of a "low water table". I'm assuming he means "high water table". Anyhow, that would require modifications to the foundations to enable the water to drain.

And that would not be cheap.

As this is the n'th house we've seen with some hideous problem that the owner really should have had fixed years ago. Like 39 years ago, when it was first f'kin built, I'm beginning to want to scream.

Also, being mansplained to for an hour, by someone completely unwilling to actually listen to what we wanted done, that didn't really help my mood. But I'm going right off the idea of buying a house here*.

So yay.


* To be honest, the urge to flee has been around. But hey. It comes and goes.

Poot.

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:17 pm
pyoor_excuse: (Default)

I took the insight for a service at a local independent garage who are very nice. Unfortunately, it turns out their base service price is about twice that of the Honda dealer, which isn’t that much of a problem on a service, but makes me a bit wary of using them for other things on the Insight. That said, they are very nice, and unlike Honda they were happy to install the fumoto oil valve.


They also were happy to install the underbody panel…but they forgot. Which is irritating, mainly because it would have done sod-all to the service cost, but also because when I realized they’d not installed it I thought “oh well, I’ll do it when I get home, it’s a nice sunny day…”, which would have been fine except for the tiny fact that it turns out the insight can’t go up the ramps I’ve got.


Either of the pairs of them.


Because my ramps are designed for 1960/1970s European cars, which have nice high front bumpers, they have a fairly vicious slope on them. It turns out that you can’t even get them under the bumper on the insight.


Which leaves me unable to come up with a way of attaching the bloody thing other than taking it back to them (the nice, but not cheap, independent garage, because Honda won’t fit aftermarket parts), or buying a set of ramps specially for the insight. Although I think I might be able to get away with buying a chunk of timber to raise the car up an 5cm or so, before it hits the ramps. This is, of course, exactly the sort of thing I want (and don’t have) a garage for. I’m pretty certain I don’t have a workbench anymore, either, so cutting the timber has to be done by whichever shop I get it from. Which means planning ahead, and designing it without the thing I’m building in front of me. Something I’m notoriously terrible at, when it comes to quickie jobs like this one.


On the plus side, while they were expensive it’s much nicer spending the time kicking around town rather than hanging out in the Honda dealer (which is in the middle of the ‘auto-mall’). More expensive, but nicer. I had a nice tea in Burial Grounds, where my allergies decided to escalate to their usual ridiculous insanity – upsetting as I’d forgotten tissues (mainly because they’d been better for a few days). Then I spent an inordinate amount of time in Rainy Day, partly because my ex-students gave me a gift voucher (with which I bought both the Marika Hackman album, I’m Not Your Man (sadly not the Loser edition with its pretty coloured vinyl) and a used Bix Beiderbeck album).


Their plan worked, though. Rainy Day’s that is; I don’t think the students were in on this.


While I was in Rainy Day the woman running the shop put on a fantastic compilation of 1960’s Asian ‘garage girl groups’*. It’s part of a re-issue of a 1980’s series of compilation albums of 1960’s ‘garage girl groups’*. This has a dreadfully ‘of its time’ title (by which I mean it’s racist), so I won’t grace the page with the title. However, it’s an awesome compilation, and being a re-issue I’m willing to sort of let the title (and the title art on on the album) slide. Instead I’ll just share that it’s Volume 9 in the “Girls in the Garage” series.


Anyhow, having concluded that I’d broadly spent enough money on toys I meandered to the New Moon Café for lunch, then out to find a shady spot to finish reading Nasty Women. Which was fascinating, and interesting, and depressing, and uplifting. It makes me want to write, which I really should try and do, given that I’ve got about 1/3rd to 1/2 of a book sat unfinished.


IMG_20170623_130137

*I have issues with this term, although I <em>suppose</em> I could equate it to boy-bands? Any moment when grown women are referred to as “girls” I find wrong.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So I used to be on LJ. I shall not be updating the LJ account anymore… I’ve finally got around to tweaking the crossposting to crosspost to Dreamwidth (and tumblr).


End announcement.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So it turns out there is an amount of time after which Thurston county start billing for their time. It states on the application that there is a process for billing, but as with every other part of the process it’s incredibly opaque. There is no indication as to what is include or excluded in their billable process.

Apparently (we have worked out from the bill) they allow 2 hours of time for a site planning application. Working back from this we think we know what application type they’ve grouped us under, which we don’t understand because it doesn’t relate to the fee we paid, but from that we can apparently get 2 hours of resource stewardship time. After that they bill over $180/hr – for, it seems, any activity. Breathing may be included.

At no point did they tell us that we’d run out of ‘included’ time. We discovered this last night when our landlord brought over the mail. In it was bill for hundreds of ‘billable’ dollars, that we had no idea they were charging us. Most of this is answering e-mails with questions attempting to work out what the hell they want from us, one e-mail alone is over $90. This is insanity.

Not least because they’ve asked for things it turned out they didn’t need – so, in fact, they’re billing us for doing stuff that’s wrong. That said, the woman who is in charge of our application is under the impression that if she understands what she wrote, everyone should get her interpretation of the words. So she would no doubt claim that when it said in a letter we needed to submit this thing, but ten subsections later there was the word “but” in parentheses, it is clear to everyone that the thing it looked like she was requesting (which incidentally costs $thousands) was only required in a specific set of circumstances.

The whole process is a nightmare. It’s enough of a nightmare that it makes me miss British planning departments who are arcane and crazy restrictive, but at least have the basic fucking decency to tell you up front that they are, and post the incredible, crazy, restrictive stuff where you can see it.

The end result of this is we’ve been billed hundreds of dollars – and may get more bills, because we don’t know which bits they’re going to bill for because they won’t fucking tell us.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

This site (at in my web server)  has been under attack a lot recently. Tediously so. If anything super weird pops up on here I’m sorry, and I’ll fix it as soon as I know. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

I am somewhat concerned that members of the Russian federation are going to use the fact they have a puppet / weak / blackmailable US president who has weakened western government cooperation, and the Brexit which has weakened and distracted Europe to commit mass genocide on LGBTQIA people. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

Animated image from 'Brazil' by Terry Gilliam.

So, it turns out that now our county planning technician is asking us to obtain a surveyor’s report to delineate the high groundwater risk for our property. Because the county think it’s at risk of flooding. Despite the fact that it’s almost the highest point for the entire street. But no, it’s at risk of flooding.

Today we went out because the hydrogeologist has put markers in the areas he would like us to identify the high groundwater risk, when we went out he strongly implied there was no significant problem. But left open the ‘We need to have an internal discussion before making a decision’ get out of jail free card.

And then we got our answer.

It’s a fucking disaster.

The county requirements would force us to move our house to chop down at least 1 of the beautiful old maples (at least 50 years old), and a large number of firs, cedars and assorted other trees. At least, that’s the only way we can interpret them.

The county is also asking for a permit that requires has a potential 128 day processing period (which probably means at least 2 years, given that our 8-12 week permit process is now running into it’s 6th month).

So the answer is, we can’t build.

We might be able to argue it. We’re considering legal options because the county told us, provisionally, that it would be an easy plot to build on.

So yay.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So today we got an answer, of sorts, from the county.

They can’t give us a timeline. They disagree with our wetland biologist’s assessment of the water that was on our site on the day that we visited.

And clearly any complaints we send are passed directly to the person we’re complaining about, because when we ask questions in our complaints, the answers come from the person we’re complaining about. So that feels highly professional.

As it stands we have 2, maybe 3 weeks before we won’t be able to build this year, with no sign of a permit, and in fact an increasing feeling that we’ve bought a lemon, and lost about $80,000 on land that’s not worth shit. And that makes me feel like I’ve let my dad down, because the majority of that money came from inheritance when my dad died. And I feel like I’ve squandered it.

Tonight also brought the bonus realisation that if we can’t build this year, we may not be able to do it at all. At least, not in the foreseeable future.

Which is all fucking depressing.

So really, fuck them.

So that was my day.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So I ordered another Razika album (direct from Norway, because no one locally could get it) which arrived yesterday.

Razika - På Vei Hjem (Album cover)
Cover from Razika – På Vei Hjem

It’s on white vinyl and handily came with a CD copy. So that’s pretty easy to rip. The white vinyl and my SL-6 are not close friends, I have to turn off the autosense mode for it to play the record… but even ignoring that, yay! Yay for more Razika.

I need to stop buying records however* because I’m nearly** out of record storage space

Also, what is overjoyously cool is hearing those few words I understand and going “Yay! I understood that!”

* I may have bought a second hand Desmond Dekker record a couple of days ago, having listened to him on 6 Music and having realised I didn’t have enough…
** By which I mean that all the gramophone records are packed away in storage because there’s not enough space in the house, and despite that, the shelves are kinda full. Full in an ‘oh, I might need to obtain a new record storage thing. Or make one. I’d love to make one. If only there was more time!

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So it’s Spring Break here, which I get the impression should be capitalised. I continue to believe that the US does holidays wrong. It’s not like the UK is any great winner on the holidays front, the rest of Europe has always been way better at that kind of stuff, but the UK is less terrible than the US by a long way.

I say this because the students (and staff) get one week off between winter and spring quarters, which is quite clearly insufficient. But then holidays in the US are generally ridiculously inadequate as far as I can tell. The presumption appears to be that people can rest when they’re dead.

Anyhow, so it’s holiday time for me, although I’m actually going to end up working through most of it (perhaps this working thing is infectious?) because otherwise there’s no way in hell I’ll be ready for next quarter. That said I decided to take this weekend to do some of the long delayed jobs on the cars. Kathryn’s mother and her wife kindly let us use their garage, because… it being Washington, it’s raining and the main job needed the car to be dry. First up was the swamp-mobile insight, which has been leaking since we got it, had sprung a new leak early in winter, and had continued to leak in a most distressing way.

Indeed, frequently getting in to the car was unpleasant in the extreme, with it smelling like you were hopping into a cozy swamp, the carpet on the driver’s side smelling distinctly less than fresh. It turns out that first generation insights are notoriously leaky beasts, with Honda essentially building a car with many large holes which they filled with caulk and then painted over.

So I ordered a billion small plastic clips, some fresh silicone sealant, and this weekend (having had the clips for nearly a year) set to. It turned out that the person who rebuilt the car after its accident had decided to just slather glue on to hold the trim in place…

IMG_20170325_122547

There were literally no intact clips except for the ‘special’ ones at each end. So, I pulled the broken clips out* with my newly purchased ‘trim remover’ tools, dug out the cracked caulk from the passenger side, and tried to clean up that and the driver’s side as much as possible. That done I laid down a bead of silicone that I then realised I had no means of making as smooth as I’d like, because it’s fairly thoroughly recessed.

Still, it’s normally hidden under trim, so I wasn’t too worried. While I was doing this, Kathryn set to on the seat with the hot/wet/but not steam cleaner**. She pulled out a fearsome amount of filth, and it actually doesn’t look quite as horrendous as it did before, but it still looks pretty shitty. She also had a good go at the carpet which now smells much less bad than it did.

That done we went out for a nice curry and then headed home. Today I headed back over and started reassembly, which went okay although the driver’s side trim still doesn’t sit quite the way I’d like it to, which I suspect is that I didn’t bend the metal clips to quite the right place before reattaching it***. Well, I say it went okay. That’s a bit of a lie. There are two small pieces of trim that go at the back, and the sticky pad that attaches the (brand new) metal clip that holds on the small piece of trim is not sticky. It’s slightly tacky if you push really hard on it, but it’s not sticky. I’m assuming this is because it was probably made around 2006, when the car was last being built new.

Obviously, because it comes with a sticky pad I’d not bought any of the ‘trim attaching sticky shite’, so I had to abandon sticking it on, and it’s now sat lacking that part. When we get a dry day I’ll clean it and stick it on, but I’m rather peeved by its absence. Although I suppose it means that if it proves to still be leaking I can do a more vigorous removal of caulk and try again.

So anyhow I then traded the insight for the Rav, for which I had purchased a shiny new radio. It claimed to have bluetooth audio, bluetooth hands free, CD, and MP3 playback. It lacks AM, which the old radio did have, but frankly I don’t think we’ve used the AM feature on ours.

This installation did not entirely go smoothly, however.

First up, it turned out that I’d ordered the wrong gender of adaptor. I had bought female Toyota adaptors, and (if I think about it, it’s obvious) I needed male. Of course I realised that after I’d crimped all the sodding joints together with my crappy cheap crimping tool, and also after I’d pulled the old radio out of the Rav. So then I had to throw the radio back in, go and buy a 4x as expensive adaptor (which is just the same as the cheap adaptor I got from china for $2, but $16 and in a box), more crimping doohickies, and I also opted to fork out for a better quality ratcheting crimping tool (because the cheap one I was using kills my hands and produces crappy crimps).

Then I got back home and set to a second time. Then I found that the new radio required different mounting screws for its ISO mount than the original Toyota one, and that they weren’t included, I then ransacked one of my boxes of stuff and (thankfully) found some that fit.

Then I finally installed the benighted object only to find when I powered it on that it seems to be suspiciously lacking in actual bluetooth functionality which was the entire damn point of installing it. Looking through the manual bluetooth is not mentioned…and checking the box it doesn’t have the bluetooth logo anywhere on it. I’ve lodged a complaint with the supplier**** on Aliexpress although I’ve allowed for them to just tell me how to turn it on. I’ve also screencap’d the current listing which still states that it has bluetooth.

All of this has left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied with my progress. Especially as I had plans to also fix the broken heated rear window in the Rav as well, and that’s not happened either.

All in all, feh.

* Working on modern cars really is a world of hideousness, isn’t it. I’m really not used to ‘removal’ meaning ‘snap it in half and replace it’, leaving the broken bit rattling around inside the car somewhere. Ugh.
** I thought it was a steam cleaner when I bought it, but it turns out it’s not. Damnit.
*** Did I mention that I really am not fond of working on modern cars?
**** This is the first time I’ve got something from Aliexpress which wasn’t as described. I’ve bought things that didn’t work well, or were shonky ass crap, but it’s the first time I’ve received something which outright is not what was advertised.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

…get some kind of answer from the county saying that our permit is approved in approximately the next 3 weeks, it is highly likely we’ll have to delay our house build for an entire year.

This is extremely distressing and frustrating and expensive. It will probably cost us in the region of $6000 dollars to do that, assuming our rent doesn’t change, and also ignoring the fact we’re hoping that our house will be cheaper to heat.

Also, instead of the rent going on repaying a mortgage, it’s going on paying someone else. I like I landlord, and the place we live is nice, but I’d rather have the money be paying for the wood that builds our house than paying someone else for stuff.

So that’s not….fun.

Still, I suppose it would take the stress off in some way. Feh.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

This is unadulterated whinging.
Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

This might give you a clue:
Central Services Logo

…they’ve requested what appears to be a logging related form (which we have said we don’t think we need to do), and a form that appears to be related to the construction of a subdivision, rezoning a site, or constructing a large retail development…which we’ve also said we don’t think we need to do.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

I know you’re all dying to know how it went… well, we managed to find a composter* and trundled out there with our Bokashi bin. Something was clearly horribly wrong, however. When the bin came out of the house, the smell produced as it was moved was… bad. Exceptionally bad. We bagged it up and even still could smell the foetid odour.

So, we pulled up at our land (after visiting a garden store, ACE hardware, and finally the Eastside Urban Farming place**) and plonked the composter down, unceremoniously, as the rain poured down on us. And then I opened the bin. Oh good holy fuck did it smell.

Even as a seasoned emergency nurse, I was concerned I might hurl. With fine technique I launched the contents into the compost bin, and then we piled wet leaves on top, damping the smell down a bit. I had planned to take a photo, but the horror of the scent was beyond comparison so I skipped that step. Then using one of the puddles of water around the place I rinsed the bin, wiped it out with bio-degradable cleaner, rinsed it, rinsed it some more, wiped it some more, rinsed it some more, and eventually conceded that it smelt less-bad-enough that we could bag it up again and throw it in the back of the car.

So raging success it was not.

Having googled – it may have been too wet, or our stuff may have sat on the counter too long, and we possibly want to be better at draining it. The white fuzzy fungus is apparently exactly what we want, which it was showing… so I’m not sure exactly why it went so horribly wrong.

We’re going to continue with the other bin, and when we’ve cleaned the other bin out more thoroughly, we’ll try another attempt without anything wet-ish. I’m wondering if the wet tea-bags and wet-coffee-grounds are the problem.

And hopefully it’ll rot down quickly, because I really don’t want to have that smell again next time we go out there.

Bleuch.

*which it turns out is harder than you’d think if you’re trying to shop at independent stores
** oh such a bad place. So bad. I will spend faaaaaarrrr too much money there.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

Sadness

Mar. 11th, 2017 06:26 am
pyoor_excuse: (Default)

It is with some sadness that I announce the passing of my swimming costume (or swim suit, if you must). It’s withstood my lackadaisical care for 15 years, more or less. Normally I’d not be so attached to a piece of clothing, but I bought it as a gift for myself before I went into hospital. I still remember riding my motorbike to Stroud’s one and only sporting goods shop and grabbing it in my lunch break a few weeks before I was admitted. And wearing it was pretty much the first time I went swimming as an adult. 

So it’s a slightly sad feeling to know it’s been replaced. But the elastic was rock hard, and had gone very, very yellow. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

I did not in fact get to watch tank girl, because the box I thought was filled with DVDs was in fact not. Instead it’s a box containing a few random CDs. The film archive is clearly still in storage. Sadly that also means no ???????? Katakuri-ke no K?fuku, at least not for a while. Which is a shame as there are a big group of new people to break. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

The ongoing disasters that are the US and the UK seem to be continuing unabated.  As I watch the UK continue to debate the validity of my existence and the US continue to demonstrate that a large proportion of citizens want me to be gone,  or alternatively dead, I’m finding it harder and harder to remain positive about the future. 

We have reached the point where we’re actually making bigger spends on our house project (on top of the original big spend of buying the land). This week we’re paying the designer (I’m assuming he’s not an actual architect) which is a not insignificant chunk of our remaining money that we can’t get back if we suddenly have to flee the country. Which worryingly is not an impossible situation.  

In our state this week a Sikh man was shot for the mistake of being brown in the US.  And in various places people have been shot for being brown and foreign. And I know for many people of color this is just another normal day. And I sincerely apologize for not doing more to combat it before, although I’ve been pushing along nudging in my quiet British way. But still. Way below good enough. 
But to actually be concerned for my safety on a regular basis is, quite frankly, shit. To have that aching paranoia – should I be here? Should I stop here? Is that someone I need to avoid? Its exhausting.

And to do that while we try and make decisions about building ourselves a home? Well, it’s not great. Let’s put it that way. 

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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